Singaporeans are fearing all the wrong things

 

We worry about foreigners, wages and retirement – but are these things worth worrying about? Or are there more frightening things looming on the horizon that we’re not wary of?

old workers

1. We worry that we’ll never get to retire

The thing more worrying than not retiring – is not being able to continue working when you need/want to. There are reports of employers discriminating older workers: terminating them prematurely and if you’re unlucky enough to be out of job in the later years of employment, the market would tell you it is very difficult to get a job that would offer you a similar salary to what you used to draw.

 

cpf

2. We worry that we can’t use our CPF money cause its “locked up”.

CPF money is paid by monthly instalments to you until the day you die. What we need to be really worried about is – will we outlive our money? What are you going to do when that happens? Do you really want spend the last years of life worrying about these problems?

 

singaporean for singapore

3. We worry that foreigners are here to “compete” with us

With foreign labour being tightened, the bigger concern now is that companies are not going to find it easy to run businesses here anymore. They are going to find prospects easier in countries where manpower is more abundant. If they leave, we will be competing with each other for jobs.

 

CPF tree

4. We’re upset that we are not getting a lot more interest in our CPF

Many of us think we can manage our own money better. But statistics show that most retail investors make poor or mediocre investment decisions. What will you do in a financial downturn? Do you have the discipline and stomach to keep money invested during negative returns? Even banks don’t guarantee they’ll continue making the miserly interest they pay on savings accounts.

 

technology-machine-medicine-hospital-patients

5. We worry if we can afford to fall ill

Firstly, we should be worrying about keeping healthy and getting insurance. Also, government hospitals will not refuse treatment on grounds of finance. It is for this reason that Medisave funds are protected and allowed to compound interest, not to be touched except for the worst (and most expensive) of situations.

 

us old no money

6. We worry about being able to meet our minimum sum (now called Retirement Sum)

The retirement sum is now (at basic level) $80k. If you have trouble saving this amount of money for the future, then you’re quite likely not going to be in good financial health today. The important thing is to fix this worry now, and the future will take care of itself.

 

tech5

7. We think that the country is freaking out too much over “productivity”

We hear politicians, businesses and government going on and on about productivity. It doesn’t mean they want us to work harder than we already are. It just means we have to find smarter ways of doing our work. Already businesses are finding it difficult to find people to do work, to grow their bottomline. If they get stuck at mediocre growth, how do you think they’re going to increase our salaries and bonuses?

 

minimumwage

 

8. We worry that we’re not having minimum wage laws

We should be worrying more about how to grow our salaries instead. And what’s worse, if we had minimum wage laws, we’re going to worry again about minimum wage becoming maximum wage – and in consequence stagnating salaries across the industries. How is that a good thing?

 

money_bag_with_dollar_sign

9. We worry about having too many rich people in Singapore

PM Lee was once criticised for having made this statement: “…if I can get another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore and set up their base here, my Gini coefficient will get worse but I think Singaporeans will be better off..” – but think about it, isn’t that right? Wouldn’t more capital in the country pave the way for better economics, and subsequently, better welfare and more opportunities for Singaporeans? If the rich didn’t want to come, we’d have a lot more things to worry about.

 

normal_singapore-hdb-neighbourhood-1_0_2

10. We worry if our children can actually buy flats

It is often criticised that “once upon a time, a 3-room flat in Singapore in the late 60s cost S$11,000”. But what about the median salary? The median salary in Singapore for the past 10 years are: 1975: $286, 1980: $398, 1990: $1,000, 2001: $2,100, 2010: $2,710…2012: $3×00.

The scale of inflation is almost in tandem with salary growth. Moreover there is a slew of HDB grants to help with the purchase. The bigger problem if HDB prices doesn’t increase, is that the poor are not able to become richer.

 

 

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About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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